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eBook Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland ePub

eBook Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland ePub

by Neal Ascherson

  • ISBN: 0809088452
  • Category: Europe
  • Subcategory: History
  • Author: Neal Ascherson
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang; Reprint edition (May 12, 2004)
  • Pages: 336
  • ePub book: 1835 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1271 kb
  • Other: docx rtf lrf mobi
  • Rating: 4.1
  • Votes: 972

Description

Stone Voices is Ascherson's return to his native Scotland. It is an exploration of Scottish identity, but this is no journalistic rumination on the future of that small nation.

Stone Voices is Ascherson's return to his native Scotland. Ascherson instead weaves together a story of the deep past - the time of geology and archaeology, of myth and legend - with the story of modern Scotland and its rebirth. His books on Poland and his collected essays on the strange Britain to which he returned from Europe in the mid-1980s were deeply influential.

A classic history-cum-memoir' -Daily Telegraph.

Opposition to Turkey's Ilisu Dam rises again with Maggie Ronayne, published 27 November 2007, chinadialogue.

Not that his book indulges in England-bashing; there's enough to say about Scotland without dwelling on her 'dangerous neighbour'.

Politicians, marketers and the military may be pushing the Union Jack, but in 2002, the Cross of St George has been the flag of choice. At the World Cup, the jubilee and even Glastonbury, there has been an outburst of English nationalism. Not that his book indulges in England-bashing; there's enough to say about Scotland without dwelling on her 'dangerous neighbour'. Nor does he produce a definitive or reductive guide to Scotland's history and culture. Instead, each successive generation writes its own history, using the raw materials - the 'artefacts' - that it finds.

326. ISBN 1 86207 583 2 London: Granta Books.

In his exploration of the myths and realities surrounding this remarkable region, where ancient cultures collided and modern states - Russia, Turkey, Romania, Greece, and Caucasus - mingle, he discovers that the meanings of community, nationhood, and cultural independence are both fierce and disturbingly uncertain.

His books include Black Sea (H&W, 1995) and The Struggles for Poland.

The rediscovery of Scotland's past and a wake-up call about its future, from a leading scholar-journalist

Scotland has a new Parliament and it has North Sea oil, but is it yet an independent, self-sustaining democracy? Is it a true nation? In Stone Voices, Neal Ascherson launches what he calls an imaginative invasion of his native land, searching for the relationships, themes, and fantasies that make up "Scotland."

Beginning with a breathtaking portrait of the country's landscape, and of the way humanity has indelibly marked even its rockiest contours, Ascherson takes us on a journey through Scotland's past, interweaving his historical accounts with a rollicking report on a back-country bus expedition he joined during the 1997 referendum campaign that led to Scotland's first modern Parliament. He asked voters then what kind of country they hoped for, what they feared, and what they expected―questions that animate his book as well.

In his search for a nation, Acherson explores many themes: the slow, hybrid formation of the Scottish people over centuries of successive immigrations; the way their most renowned intellectuals and writers came to hate the national church; the peculiar nature of their diaspora; the coexistence of their search for an "authentic" Scotland with the myths others create; and the Scots' proud sense of true independence. Stone Voices enlightens us about Scotland, about Europe, and about the conditions for freedom that we must all seek today.

"Greatly accessible compendium of scholarly passion." - Kirkus Reviews

Comments

nadness nadness
Another eminently readable work by this author, this time returning to his own homeland, Scotland, whose history, Ascherson says is like a "huge, reeking tip of unsorted rubbish across which scavengers wander, pulling off interesting fragments which might fetch a price or come in handy".

This is not a formal "history" of Scotland, no chronologic exploring of kings or themes, more an exploration of that mysterious "Scottishness" and the fierce pride and sense of place that finally led to the enactment of a British Home Rule law that created a Scottish Parliament so that "this proud country could rule its own affairs". Ascherson does not venture too deeply into how much this ambition has been achieved or how it could be supported without the overall security and infrastructure of a parent - plus of course, like the creation of all of the new wave of "independent" countries from regional aspirations, just a little more taxes. Politically active always in the pursuit of Scotland's "fredome" Ascherson credits two events for the final concession from Westminster - the Scots youth fascination with Mel Gibson's populist portrayal of William Wallace in "Braveheart" -" a hairy Hollywood distortion" and the death of Princess Diana. The crisis of the monarchy in England after this death led to a surprising resurging of ENGLISH nationalism. This, Ascherson argues, engendered a sympathy for Scotland's (and Welsh) autonomy, causing a turn-over of the long, political denial that finally led to the granting of some measure of the equally long-held need for independence.

The voices of the stones the author hears are from rocks, mounts, monuments and walls of the Scottish landscapes, rocks, he says, that are as open to the Scots as the "throat of singing birds". That land is so hard and scarred by man that "Scotland is like 'a poor woman with little flesh between her skin and bones' who carries the scars of many years' use.

Och aye, but she's bonny still.
Alsardin Alsardin
I have read, or attempted to read, several books of Scottish history over the past 40 years. "Stone Voices" is the first that really connected the threads of this confusing saga. I first borrowed this book from the local public library, then wanted a copy for my personal library. I was happy to find a "brand new" book at Amazon.

The author has a remarkable understanding of the age old "personality" of the Scottish people, from Pictish times to the present. He deftly links historical events to Scottish decision-making today. For example, the very different attitude of the ancient Picts about choosing a king: This was a representative system, rather than a "divine right of kings" kingship. He talks about the Declaration of Arbroath, a letter from the Scottish nobles to the Pope in Rome in 1320, during the kingship of Robert the Bruce. Practically unknown in the US, it served as a model for our Declaration of Independence. The ancient political system in Pictland likely formed the basis for governance in the Presbyterian Church and the US Constitution.

This is a must buy for Scotophiles.
Yozshugore Yozshugore
I have it by my bed and once in a while I read it. I don't know how long it will take to finish it with all the traveling I am doing. The idea of the book is terrific to me. I was told I was Scot from the time I was old enough to know about my Mother's family. My DNA says the women were 30% Irish, 29% Scandinavian, and 18 Scot/English/Welsh. So I am curious about the part of the 18%. Silly me.
Zulkigis Zulkigis
Wonderful book
Bludworm Bludworm
Anyone expecting a return to a book as good as Ascherson's "Black Sea" will be in for a disappointment. Rather than a combination history/travelogue, Ascherson indulges in the role of an ideologue. For one thing, he is convinced that the Scots are "naturally" communitarian and egalitarian, and he presents these arguments ad nauseum and in spite of plenty of historical evidence to the contrary. Every history section sets out to prove the eternal class struggle in Scotland. It certainly gets tiresome after a while, as does his constant contempt for the UK's economic and social revival under PM Margaret Thatcher. He is also a relentless advocate of Scottish independence. Well, the man is entitled to his opinions, but it certainly makes for a grim read.
Marirne Marirne
This is a superb book. The author deftly weaves a web of history, stories and observations, ranging from Scotland's ancient past to the present day. He proceeds thematically rather than chronologically, subtly connecting his chapters, and frequently referring back to themes he previously discussed. He clearly states in his preface what he hopes to achieve: "I have tried to make a virtue of (the) fragmented awareness of Scotland's past...In doing so, paradoxically, a set of continuities appeared." He succeeds admirably, and his text amply justifies his fine conclusion: "Scotland has survived and still exists as a chain of small collective loyalties...This is a nation at home in hard, stony times. It will find its own way in the world."